Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Extra funding now available for farmers

1 March 2019

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Drought affected farmers who are receiving Farm Household Allowance (FHA) can access an additional lump sum payment of up to $6000 from today.

The payment is the second supplementary payment made available to struggling farmers by the Coalition Government this financial year, bringing the total value of additional support to $12,000.

Human Services and Digital Transformation Minister Michael Keenan said the payments are helping thousands of rural families to keep their heads above water during exceptionally difficult times.

“We distributed more than $18 million to over 5,500 farmers through our first round of FHA supplementary payments last year,” Minister Keenan said.

“Eligible couples receive $6,000, while single farmers are eligible for $3,600.

“These supplements are additional to the regular payments farmers receive each fortnight through the FHA scheme, providing some stability in their short and longer-term future.”

Recipients of FHA also have access to their own Farm Household Case Officer who can help them develop and action a plan to improve their farm business.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said more than 10,000 people have received FHA since it was introduced in 2014.

“If you’re already on the FHA you don’t need to do anything. You’ll automatically get this second payment,” Minister Littleproud said.

“Farmers in hardship who haven’t applied for FHA should do so before 1 June 2019 so they can get up to $6,000 extra.

“If you need help applying, contact the free Rural Financial Counselling Service. They’ll help with the paperwork and can find other assistance you might be eligible for.”

Farming families also now have an extra three hours in the evening to access support and assistance, with the Farmer Assistance Hotline opening from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.

Minister Keenan said the extra trading hours recognise the unique challenges farmers face, including the long hours they spend working on their properties.

“We want them to be able to access our services at a time that works for them, which is often later in the evening when they’ve finished work for the day,” Minister Keenan said.

“Our phone staff are highly trained and can help farmers to determine their eligibility, assist them with the application process and tell them what additional support is available in their local areas.

“I encourage anyone who is thinking of applying or would just like to seek more information about available support to call the hotline today,” Mr Keenan said.

For further information about Farm Household Allowance and how to apply, visit humanservices.gov.au/farmhouseholdallowance or call the hotline on 132 316.

Page last updated: 1 March 2019